In the international arena, 2012 turned out to be quite happening even by its own standards. There was absolutely no continent that was left without upheaval or some exciting incident. However, nothing could beat the enthusiasm and trepidation of the US Presidential Elections.
Almost entire year saw some action or other at the election front with, first, Mitt Romney stealing the Republican nomination below everyone’s nose in spite of being a Mormon. A rare mixture of money, good looks and limited stupidity by the Republican standards, Romney came out as the first choice but not before the fatal bruising of the nomination round. Some still maintain that the money, time and energy that were wasted in the nomination rounds cost Republicans the presidency later.
On the other hand, Obama cleverly played on people’s insecurity and lack of alternative to come out with the flying colours. People were not happy with his tenure but they also realized rather soon that most of it was not because of Obama’s underperformance but their own high expectations. And that proved helpful for Obama.
The campaign saw worst of Republican tactics including rumors, racial undertones, misinformation and what not. However, their over dependence on White Male voters made them stagnate. On the other hand, Democrats created a winnable rainbow of minorities, Blacks, Latinos and female voters combining them with the liberal White votes to stitch up a remarkable win.
Elsewhere, in Syria, the Salafi-Brotherhood project, funded generously by their respective mentors, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and piggybacked by Turkey, created much mayhem without delivering any result. While the Assad regime is tied down with limited maneuverability, it still holds the ground strongly because of the majority support by the common Syrians. It is hard to predict what will happen to Assad in months to come, but what is confirmed is that whoever remains in power at Damascus will always look at Ankara with suspicion as someone who will put the dagger on the neck when you are looking somewhere else. And that will prove fatal for Ankara. The academician foreign minister of Turkey finally proved that he is good just as an academician and nothing more. The blunder committed by him and the Islamists will definitely come back to haunt them in the future.
Meanwhile the US and the West kept the noose tightened around Tehran stooping as low as putting rumor and heresy in the category of credible evidence, all of whom were pooh-poohed one after another and failed to hold water. However it did not stop them from putting additional rounds of sanctions on the regime one after another that had made the life of common Iranians miserable. However, Iran is not ready to shed an inch. Unless we see some really serious proposal from IAEA and the West next year, which is unlikely considering the West just wants regime change in Tehran as it knows there is no clandestine nuclear program, the deadlock will likely continue.
Putin posted a spirited win in Russia in spite of a familiar and by now predictable campaign posted by the Western media. In spite of all the propaganda and other techniques including funding NGOs and other organization to discredit and sabotage the elections, Putin’s United Russia came out with the flying colours in almost all the provinces of this huge country. That also mercifully finished the dithering and indecisive days of Medvedev for good. Putin’s dream projects such as Eurasian Union has got the new lease of life and is waiting for further impetus in order to get going. Chances are, it will receive some soon.
West on the other hand was bogged down in Afghanistan with an imminent defeat looming large. In spite of several pressure actions against Pakistan, Islamabad continued to have an upper hand in its relation with NATO. The rocky relationship between the US and Pakistan has started to thaw again as US realized that in spite of the immediate doomsday prediction by Indian and American media, Pakistan was still intact and in fact improving albeit slowly. Kabul also realized that there was no point riling Pakistan as no one, not Delhi, not Moscow that can assure its stabilization and survival without the help from Pakistan. So while newspapers and magazines in Delhi kept writing obit on Pakistan, Islamabad’s willy horses solidly placed themselves in the Great Game once again.
Israel saw a year of further isolation at the world stage as its mindless leadership kept it in the hate book of most of the countries. At the United Nations, Palestinian Authority’s application for a raise in the membership status saw US and Israel getting another 7 votes out of 193 nations. Even the usual European grouping left them in hordes and US found itself isolated at the world stage like never before. Obama understands this and he is definitely going to give some very strong signals to Tel Aviv in the days to come.
Europe saw another bad year and it tasted lots of violent protests that it so gleefully instigates in other countries. It was particularly violent in Spain and Greece as people saw the noose tightening around themselves. The situation is expected to improve slightly this year but not much. How will that affect the functioning of EU will be interesting to watch.
Comrade Hugo Chavez posted another whitewash again amidst western propaganda and mudslinging. Although his health might prove to be his Achilles Heel, the spirited bull is not ready to call it a day yet.
China started to exert itself in the region and the neighbourhood spooking US and India out. The regional contention plan that the US has hatched is not going down well with India, but has takers in Tokyo, Manila and Seoul. The problem will only aggravate in years to come before cooling down as the world will bring itself to accept the domination of another superpower.